Saturday, November 15, 2014

My Path

I'm writing this to disclose the path I have chosen. I want to explain in my own words, as simply and clearly as I can, why I am choosing this path:

Ever since I was little I enjoyed stories from the scriptures about the ministering of angels, the great faith of the Brother of Jared, and Moses seeing God's face. I'll admit that I was intrigued. Those people were well acquainted and familiar with the voice of the Lord. I want the same faith.

Prophets play an important role in God's plan. They have been indispensable in showing the human family how to approach God. Prophets teach us that faith must be placed only in God. I've always felt that salvation is between God and myself–nobody else. After all, the source of all power comes from God.

In church I grew up with the ideal of the importance of following the prophet. If you do, you won't be led astray. I'm not going to get into whether prophets can lead you astray or not. My concern is whether this modern teaching(1) will make us reach higher. Will we grow comfortable to their trust and heed to all the words of the prophet? Do we acknowledge our duties and responsibilities in seeking God's voice and take the Spirit as our sole guide (2)?

Now I see the Book of Mormon as a guide that shows me how to truly seek God–face to face. The baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost, making your calling and election made sure, and the Second Comforter are all important principles to me. The baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost is the minimum requirement for entrance into the Celestial Kingdom. It's a deeply important occurrence, and one that doesn't just happen by confirmation. I am striving so that all ordinances are ratified by the Holy Spirit of Promise; all ordinances must be. It's knowledge that will save us, not the lack of it. I also believe that the end of faith should be a perfect knowledge, achievable in this life.

What is it going to take in these last days to build Zion? I believe it will take all of those said principles. It starts individually. I want to live like Christ is here. Christ will dwell in Zion. I hope to be well-acquainted with His voice to help in building up Zion (3).

How is this going to be? The scriptures also talk about servants in the last days that will come out to prepare His people. I believe these servants will come in a manner like Samuel the Lamanite, Abinadi, and John the Baptist. I have learned hard lessons that it is always about the message and not the messenger. I believe the servants are now here and among us.

I'm going to be baptized again. I have been told by the Lord to do so. I was baptized when I was eight, but this time the wording will be as 3 Nephi 11:25. The church had been commissioned to baptize, but now I believe we live in days like that of Alma the younger. I'm not joining a new church, but will be among a community of believers.

But this is a crazy period of time we live in. We live in days where even the very elect can be deceived and where people seek to walk in their own ways. How can I be sure this is the right path? 

I desire and seek God's will. My journey is taking place with a covenant that I obey His voice. I can't deny the experiences I've had the past few years. I can't deny what I know is right; nor can I deny the fruit of my faith.

What about the blessings of the temple I miss out on? I believe the true purpose of the temple, as purposed for our day, is to see the Lord's face. And my marriage? God told me I would marry my wife long before I believed it to be true. Knowing that it is His will that I am with her is witness to me of the covenant I already have between God and my wife. If God preserves my marriage, it will be because it mirrors that union found in Heaven, sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise. I'm concerned for the salvation of my family, and I'm moving forward in efforts to do so. With all my weaknesses and sins, I know that only God has the power to save. I seek His voice for the salvation of my family.

I am grateful for all the church has provided to me and my family, spiritually and temporally; but I can't pretend to believe that all is well, or will be, in the church. All that Isaiah prophecies parallels our day. What he prophecies is sobering and should be alarming. What people claim to be led by a prophet? What people are a temple-going people? What people claim to be a covenant people of the Lord? I have found his words to be very valuable and of great worth to study. God wants us to learn through revelation. It is one of the necessary elements through which we act in faith (4).

I don't claim to understand my path fully at this time. I don't claim to be worthy of any of those blessings, but strive to seek them in humility, acknowledging the source of all blessings. I do know that God wants me to be baptized. I do know that God wants us to obtain those higher blessings. I hope we can seek Him and reclaim these blessings that we might bear His presence when He comes again.

(1) Elder Nelson, Oct 2014 General Conference:
Our sustaining of prophets is a personal commitment that we will do our utmost to uphold their prophetic priorities. Our sustaining is an oath-like indication that we recognize their calling as a prophet to be legitimate and binding upon us.
Trust me! These 15 men—prophets, seers, and revelators—know what the will of the Lord is when unanimity is reached!
Wilford Woodruff:
I say to Israel, the Lord will never permit me or any other man who stands as president of this Church to lead you astray. It is not in the program. It is not in the mind of God. If I were to attempt that the Lord would remove me out of my place, and so He will any other man who attempts to lead the children of men astray from the oracles of God and from their duty. ( The Discourses of Wilford Woodruff, sel. G. Homer Durham [1946], 212–13.)
I say to the Latter day Saints, the keys of the kingdom of God are here, and they are going to stay here, too, until the coming of the Son of Man. Let all Israel understand that… . No man who has ever breathed the breath of life can hold these keys of the kingdom of God and lead the people astray. ( The Discourses of Wilford Woodruff, sel. G. Homer Durham [1946], 73–74.)
(2) Joseph Smith:

...if the people departed from the Lord, they must fall—that they were depending on the Prophet, hence were darkened in their minds, in consequence of neglecting the duties devolving upon themselves.

(3) Joseph Smith:

As a Church and a people it behooves us to be wise, and to seek to know the will of God, and then be willing to do it; for “blessed is he that heareth the word of the Lord, and keepeth it,” say the Scriptures. “Watch and pray always,” says our Savior, “that ye may be accounted worthy to escape the things that are to come on the earth, and to stand before the Son of Man.” If Enoch, Abraham, Moses, and the children of Israel, and all God’s people were saved by keeping the commandments of God, we, if saved at all, shall be saved upon the same principle. As God governed Abraham, Isaac and Jacob as families, and the children of Israel as a nation; so we, as a Church, must be under His guidance if we are prospered, preserved and sustained. Our only confidence can be in God; our only wisdom obtained from Him; and He alone must be our protector and safeguard, spiritually and temporally, or we fall.

We have been chastened by the hand of God heretofore for not obeying His commands, although we never violated any human law, or transgressed any human precept; yet we have treated lightly His commands, and departed from His ordinances, and the Lord has chastened us sore, and we have felt His arm and kissed the rod; let us be wise in time to come and ever remember that “to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.

(4) Lectures on Faith:

[Three] things are necessary for us to understand, respecting the Deity and our relation to him, in order that we may exercise faith in him for life and salvation…What are they? First, that God does actually exist; secondly, correct ideas of his character, his perfections and attributes; and thirdly, that the course which we pursue is according to his mind and will. (Lecture 3:3-5.)

…How are we to be made acquainted with the before-mentioned things respecting the Deity, and respecting ourselves? By revelation. (Lecture 3:6.) Could these things be found out by any other means than by revelation? They could not.


29 And Moses said unto him, Enviest thou for my sake? would God that all the Lord’s people were prophets, and that the Lord would put his spirit upon them!
30 And Moses gat him into the camp, he and the elders of Israel. (Numbers 11)

Ezra Taft Benson, (General Conference Oct 1967):

Yes, it is the precepts of men versus the principles of God. The more we follow the word of God, the less we are deceived, while those who follow the wisdom of men are deceived the most. Increasingly the Latter-day Saints must choose between the reasoning of men and the revelations of God. This is a crucial choice, for we have those within the Church today who, with their worldly wisdom, are leading some of our members astray. 

19 The weak things of the world shall come forth and break down the mighty and strong ones, that man should not counsel his fellow man, neither trust in the arm of flesh—
20 But that every man might speak in the name of God the Lord, even the Savior of the world;
21 That faith also might increase in the earth;
22 That mine everlasting covenant might be established;
23 That the fulness of my gospel might be proclaimed by the weak and the simple unto the ends of the world, and before kings and rulers. (D&C 1)

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